In this time of isolation, it’s comforting to hear something new from one of the most captivating artists in music at the moment. Today Kristin Hayter under her LINGUA IGNOTA project has shared a fantastically epic new song titled “O Ruthless Great Divine Director” for “Adult Swim,” and it’s a grandiose and uncompromising piece of art both lyrically and musically. About the track Hayter says “O Ruthless Great Divine Director” both addresses and embodies the hypocrite and the false prophet. The sanctimonious scene police, the friend or community who will turn away or against when things get hard, fear mongering and pervasive misinformation. It was a great pleasure to have Greg Fox’s incredible talent on this song, and to work with Seth Manchester again at the console.” You can listen to “O Ruthless Great Divine Director” below:
Artist: Katie Gately
Brooklyn-born and now Los Angeles-based musician Katie Gately was almost finished recording her follow-up to her debut album Color when her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Returning to her family home in Brooklyn to care for her mother, Gately couldn’t bring herself to finish the album due to the stress and emotional and mental toll this devastating situation was taking on her. After sleepless nights, Gately began work on a brand new album centered around her song “Bracer,” which was her mother’s favorite song of hers. The result is a haunting, incredibly dark, and heartfelt album that finds Gately facing the themes of loss and the realization of mortality. Titled Loom, the album was completed after her mother had passed in 2018, and it’s a vivid, unsettling, and uncompromising glimpse into her headspace at that time. Departing from her previous album’s lighter tone, Loom isn’t without Gately’s talented knack for detailed production consisting of field recordings and effects. This time around the music is darker in tone and features a larger than life and rather cinematic tone that reflects the array of emotions Gately is feeling. A track like “Waltz” takes the usual 3/4 beat of the style and drags it through a haunting reinvention that builds and builds to a satisfying climax. “Bracer” is a 10 minute plus epic that’s vastly unpredictable with new sound effects and vocal refrains added frequently building and building to an eruption of a massive collage of sound consisting mainly of samples that are hard to identify. Gately cleverly utilizes field recordings of an earthquake, shaking pill bottles, screaming peacocks, howling wolves, a closing coffin, and much more throughout the album which showcases her love for samples without sounding gimmicky. Though the “building and building” structure devoid of verse-chorus-verse-chorus can be a bit repetitive, the intensity is undeniably gut-wrenching, eerie, and immensely satisfying if you don’t mind a journey through the dark. Gately is vastly talented at sound design and creating a collage of sound all while evoking various emotions, and her grieving process is full-frontal, leading to an incredible listening experience. This is some of the best music i’ve heard so far this year.
Written By: Steven Sandoval
Artist: El Café Atómico
EP: You Won’t Get Rid of Me That Easy
The name says it all. You won’t get rid of him that easy. You may stumble upon his music and want to shut it off, feeling the discomfort that emerges when hearing his oddball mixture of electronics, twangy guitar, and hard to distinguish vocals. You can choose to not listen anymore, but he had a few minutes of your time. You entered his chaotic world. His music may turn off some people, but for weirdos like me, his music is a fucking playground. Who am I talking about? I’m talking about Victor “Cactus Frank” Fernandez, a self-taught musician from Venezuela whom I know very little about due to his mysterious online presence that reveals very little info on his background, but the mysterious factor works out in his favor, because his music speaks for itself. Under the name “El Café Atómico,” Cactus Frank has gifted us the first installment of his “Rampage Series” titled You Won’t Get Rid of Me That Easy, and it is an interesting listen. It’s futuristic Blues, Industrial-laden Psychedelic Folk, or Rock from the year 3000 as he describes, and in this glimpse of the future we witness a post-apocalyptic world where Cactus Frank is the sole survivor, and only he can create music to bring him solace and to exorcise his solitude. The bass heavy pounding percussion, the deep synths, and the Bluesy guitars are all indicators that Frank isn’t here to make your Dad’s favorite Blues music. He’s imaginative both in his instrumentation and songwriting. The lyrics are poetically cryptic, ranging from songs named after Japanese celebrity Takeshi Kitano to vivid pictures of children playing football with a head they’ve found. Very much open for interpretation. Though the vocal mixing could be a little better, and though this sounds like only the beginning of what has the potential to be a fruitful career, this E.P. is immensely ambitious. What does the “Rampage Series” have in store? I have no idea, but I’m ready.
Written By: Steven Sandoval
In December of 1979 “Throbbing Gristle” released their “Industrial” classic 20 Jazz Funk Greats. Don’t let the name fool you, you won’t hear Jazz or Funk on this record, instead you’ll hear 11 tracks of uncompromising Industrial that incorporates various elements of Synth-Pop, Post-Punk, and Disco, but these genres are mutilated and drenched in the band’s anti-music style. The lyrical content consists of erotic themes and taboo subject matter, because, well….. it’s Throbbing Gristle. About the misleading and quite humorous album cover, member Cosey Fanni Tutti has stated “We did the cover so it was a pastiche of something you would find in a Woolworth’s bargain bin. We took the photograph at the most famous suicide spot in England, called Beachy Head. So, the picture is not what it seems, it is not so nicey nicey at all, and neither is the music once you take it home and buy it. We had this idea in mind that someone quite innocently would come along to a record store and see the record and think they would be getting 20 really good Jazz/Funk greats, and then they would put it on at home and they would just get decimated.” This album is regarded by many as the band’s best work, and it’s hard to argue with that. This was some of the most unique and innovative music unlike anything that came out of the 70’s, and is still a tough and incredibly disturbing listen today, and let’s not forget the massive influence the band had on all of the Industrial artists that followed. Happy Anniversary.
Noise/Industrial duo “Street Sects” have undoubtedly been on a roll since the release of their “Gentrification” EP’s back in 2014. Following the success of their string of singles, an E.P. and two full-length albums, the idea of the band continuing their harsh and abrasive “Gentrification” series seemed unlikely, but earlier this year we were treated to a third installment titled Gentrification III: Death and Displacement, and it was as Hellish as one would expect. Now, a month later, the band have announced that they will release the fourth installment of this series on November 22nd via “The Flenser.” It will be titled Gentrification IV: Suspended from Gallery Rails. Today the band shared one out of the two tracks titled “Tomorrow is a Trap,” and it’s back to business as usual, which makes the band so damn enticing. You can listen to “Tomorrow is a Trap” below:
“HMLTD” are one of the most exciting bands at the moment. The evolution of the band has been incredibly captivating going from their 2017 Post-Punk/Gothic singles to last year’s Synth-Pop heavy E.P. Hate Music Last Time Delete to their dark Electronic-laden Pop singles released late last year, they’ve been on many people’s “must watch” list and they still don’t even have a full length album! Today the band returned after what felt like an eternity with a brand new single “Loaded.” The song is about material wealth and spiritual poverty, and it’s deliciously catchy. You can watch the video for “Loaded” below:
Following 2016’s exhausting but enlightening journey through the body, mind, and soul we call The Glowing Man, “Swans” will return with their new album Leaving Meaning on October 25th via Young God Records/Mute. The album was written and produced by sole member Michael Gira with collaborations with Thor Harris, Norman Westberg, Ben Frost, The Necks, Baby Dee, Jennifer Gira, and Anna and Maria von Hausswolff. The band have also shared a new track off the upcoming album titled “It’s Coming It’s Real.” You can listen to the track below:
Artist: Thom Yorke
Label: XL Recordings
Thom Yorke needs no introduction at this point, and saying he needs no introduction goes without saying, so why am I saying it? I don’t know, I just needed an introduction in this review. We all know how influential his band “Radiohead” is. A band that have garnered much acclaim from critics and music fans alike with their eclectic music that strives to innovate and push boundaries. In fact, they’re so acclaimed that they just recently were inducted into the “Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame,” and if you’re aware of the “Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame,” you know they tend to ignore artists that are truly innovative, but here we are pleasantly surprised. Aside from “Radiohead,” Yorke has embarked on numerous music endeavors, including a decent solo career. Now, I’m not going to lie and say I’ve been the biggest fan of his solo material, (please don’t crucify me) because much of his music tends to be predictable or sound like “Radiohead” b-sides. That isn’t to say his music has been devoid of creativity and meaningful content, but the replay value is hardly there, but upon hearing that he was set to score Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake I was immediately intrigued. My expectations were exceeded with that soundtrack. Yorke beautifully crafted a dark and melancholy contrast to the film’s disturbing visuals. Following that up, Yorke has released his third solo album ANIMA, and this is the Thom Yorke solo album I’ve been waiting for. This album sounds like what I expected it to sound like, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This album has everything we’ve come to expect with Yorke’s solo material. The layers upon layers of synths, off-kilter drum patterns, and reverb-drenched vocal loops and harmonies layered to fall in disarray, but this time around this sound is perfected and truly hypnotic. Inspired by the subject of dreams, Yorke and longtime collaborator Nigel Godrich fully immerse the listener in a world of “Ambient Techno” that’s hypnotic and creates humanity out of the machines at work. The album’s opener “Traffic” hits you with buzzing synth bass and skittering synth arpeggios that build to a subtle climax that doesn’t bombard you with self-indulgence. This sets the tone for the rest of the album quite well, because the rest of the album follows a very similar note, and that’s the point, to hypnotize you and put you in a state that feels like a dream, and sometimes even a nightmare. Much of the album’s content deals heavily with claustrophobia and anxiety, and Yorke uses themes of dystopia to evoke feelings of anxiety, but there’s never a feeling of discomfort. A sense of urgency yes, and even a feeling of discombobulation, but it’s controlled and there is a frequent hopeful tone. The track “Dawn Chorus” is most definitely a standout track where Yorke’s almost spoken word vocals lay out a paranoid string of consciousness, but there is a sense of comfort beneath the madness. This isn’t an album that pummels you with abrasion or tumult, and it’s not trying to unsettle you, but with the darker subject matter, instead of delving further into the rabbit hole, Yorke and Godrich find a way to guide you through a meditative experience amidst the anxiety, as if they know most of their listeners find comfort and beauty in the sadder art, and pulling that off is no easy feat. If you find Thom Yorke to be pretentious or self-indulgent then this album isn’t for you, and the mere idea of Yorke using his own dreams as inspiration might make you cringe, but it’s definitely worth a listen. That’s right, i’m talking to you ya Thom Yorke detractors.
Written By: Steven Sandoval
Album: Plastic Anniversary
Label: Thrill Jockey Records
Just about any object can be used as an instrument. Anything that makes a sound can be utilized in a musical composition. ANYTHING. A washing machine, recordings of bovine uteruses, sperm hitting paper, audio of plastic surgeries, you name it, and though these sound like absurd examples, guess what? Someone has sampled all of these things in their music. “Matmos” is their name, a duo and married couple that produce music comprised of field recordings. The duo have been doing this since the late 90’s with a different theme for each album, creating dark and often surprisingly catchy tunes made up of nothing but field recordings. Their unorthodox approach to recording music has garnered acclaim, and considering how this approach to music could easily become a gimmick or novelty, it’s impressive how they’ve kept our attention after all these years. So what’s the next theme for their new album? Plastic. Oh plastic, how would civilization survive without it? Humans love convenience, and though it’s destroying our environment, we just can’t live without it, because the majority of our products are comprised of the plastic, and of course, “Matmos” have utilized a myriad of plastic objects to create their new album Plastic Anniversary. This album isn’t just the two banging on plastic objects creating only a percussive nature in the vain of “Stomp,” the countless plastic objects are sequenced and manipulated to create loops and layers upon layers of sounds that take the roles of rhythm, melody, and atmosphere. Many plastic objects are utilized like the breaking of vinyl on the opening track “Breaking Bread,” the use of pill capsules and the eerie and ominous tones the two get out of them on the track “The Crying Pill,” and the most captivating of all, the primal sounds created using riot shields which are scraped and banged on on the track “Thermoplastic Riot Shield.” Matmos cleverly show us all how anything can be an instrument. Everything from billiard balls to plastic horns, and the two impressively create whole melodic compositions that aren’t just a bunch of noise. That’s their forte. Field recordings have been used far before “Matmos” came along, but no one has ever utilized this recording method quite like them. Their music is incredibly innovative and they always think outside the box, finding new ways to create music using unorthodox instruments. If they can make you dance to a washing machine, then i’d say they’re IDM’s biggest innovators.
Written By: Steven Sandoval
Australian band “Tropical Fuck Storm” have been on a roll, and it looks like the band don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Today these oddballs released a brand new track titled “The Planet Of Straw Men,” as well as a music video to accompany it. The track will appear on their upcoming follow-up to last year’s spectacular debut A Laughing Death In Meatspace, which is set to be released later in the year. You can watch the music video below:
“The Planet Of Straw Men” Pre-order:
The Planet Of Straw Men